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"John has a new nickname... 'The Cat!' The first thing he said was I can’t catch the ball! He did well, with a great block from Robbie Keane and a punch from a corner."

- Sir Alex Ferguson
04/02/2007 19:09, Report by Gemma Thompson
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O'Shea proud of keeper stint

John O'Shea's versatility has seen him occupy virtually every position within United's defence and midfield, but even he wouldn't have expected to one day end up in goal!

Having used all three permitted substitutes against Tottenham, Sir Alex Ferguson looked to one of his outfield players to replace Edwin van der Sar who had left the field with a broken nose seven minutes from time at White Hart Lane.

Rio Ferdinand initially plumped for the role, but the duty eventually fell to O'Shea who produced an impressive ten-minute display and helped the Reds earn a second successive clean sheet.

"I'm very proud!" joked O'Shea in an interview with Sky Sports afterwards. "I asked Edwin whether he had a clean sheet bonus when we got into the dressing room because I want half it!

"When I came on the manager told me to tell the defenders to make sure we kept a clean sheet, so I was very happy to help the team do that. It's definitely a special moment that I'll look back on.

"It was a bit nervewracking," he admitted, "especially when Spurs got a corner straight away.

"Every time they got the ball the crowd were shouting 'shoot!' and when I saw Robbie [Keane] baring down on me I thought he was going to stick it through my legs. But thankfully I got lucky!

"The lads did brilliantly at the start of the second half. We knew Spurs were going to come at us after the break but we killed them off very quickly."

Sir Alex Ferguson was all smiles when asked for his assessment of O'Shea's cameo appearance in goal. And he revealed the 25-year-old now has a new nickname.

"We're calling him 'The Cat!'" declared the United boss. "I don’t think I’ve ever had that situation as a manager before. It happened once when I was a player and I went in goal. We lost 4-0 but I made two great saves!



"John did well. There was a debate – Rio wanted to go in goal, Gary [Neville] wanted to go in goal. But I wanted to leave the back four as it was so we spoke to John

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